HILDREN OF COURAGE..
The National Bravery Awards: A ready reckoner
The national awards for bravery was started in 1957 by the Indian Council for Child Welfare. The award was to recognise and honour children who performed outstanding deeds of bravery and selfless sacrifice.
The first award was given in 1957, when two children — a boy and a girl — were rewarded for their presence of mind and courage.
Since then the ICCW has conferred awards on children below the age of 16, every year.
Applications for the awards are received from various sources such as the central/state government departments, panchayats, zilla parishads, school authorities as well as state and Union territory councils for child welfare.
The selection is made by a committee constituted by the ICCW, comprising representatives from the secretariats of the President and the vice-president, various ministries, as well as the Central Social Welfare Board, the police, All India Radio, Doordarshan and leading NGOs such as the National Bal Bhavan, SOS, Children’s Villages of India, R K Mission and experienced ICCW members.
The awards are announced on November 14, Children’s Day.
The awardees are subsequently invited to Delhi where the prime minister presents them with the awards on the eve of Republic Day. The children then take part in the Republic Day Parade on caprisoned elephants and call on various dignitaries.
In 1987, ICCW instituted the Bharat Award for an exceptionally outstanding, meritorious and gallant deed.
The other special awards are the Sanjay Chopra and Geeta Chopra Awards instituted in 1978. The Bapu Gayadhani award was instituted in 1988.
The awardees receive a medal, certificate and cash.
Eligible awardees are granted financial assistance until they complete their schooling under the ICCW’s sponsorship programme.
In addition, ICCW provides financial assistance under its Indira Gandhi scholarship scheme to those undertaking professional courses such as medical and engineering.
For the others, this assistance is provided till they complete their graduation.
The government has reserved some seats for the awardees in medical, engineering colleges and polytechnics.
— Basharat Peer
Nazia (18) from Uttar Pradesh, who had helped local police capture perpetrators of an illegal business of gambling and betting, would be among the 18 children to receive the National Bravery Awards this year.
The awards, divided into five categories -- Bharat Award, Geeta Chopra Award, Sanjay Chopra Award, Bapu Gaidhani Award, and General National Bravery Awards -- would be given away by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 24.
President Ramnath Kovind would host a reception for the awardees -- seven girls and 11 boys -- who would also participate in the Republic Day parade on January 26.
Nazia, who continued to fight against the miscreants despite facing threats, and managed to put an end to the decades-long terror and harassment, would be given the coveted Bharat Award.
14-year-old Netravati M Chavan from Karnataka, who lost her life while trying to save two young boys from drowning, would be posthumously given the Geeta Chopra award.
While Netravati managed to rescue 16-year-old Muthu from a pond, she lost her life in a failed attempt to save 10- year-old Ganesh, who drowned as well.
17-year-old F Lalchhandama from Mizoram and 15-year-old Loukrakpam Rajeshwori Chanu from Manipur would also be awarded posthumously.
The Sanjay Chopra award would be given to 17-year-old Karanbeer Singh from Punjab who had rescued 15 children from a school bus that had plunged into a drain. Singh, who was also in the bus and was injured, showed great courage and helped other children to come out of the water-filled bus.
Betshwajohn Peinlang (14) of Meghalaya, Mamata Dalai (7) of Odiha, Sebastian Vincent (13) of Kerala would be given the Bapu Gaidhani award.
While Peinlang rescued his 3-year-old brother from their burning house, Dalai saved her friend from the jaws of a crocodile.
The other recipients of the bravery awards include Laxmi Yadav (16) from Raipur, Mansha N (13), N Shangpon Konyak (18), Yoaknei (18) from Nagaland, Chingai Wangsa (18) from Nagaland, Samridhi Sushil Sharma (17) from Gujarat, Zonuntluanga (16) from Mizoram, Pankaj Semwal (16) from Uttarakhand, Nadaf Ejaj Abdul Rauf (17) from Maharashtra, and Pankaj Kumar Mahanta (15) from Odisha.
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